The science and history of rogue waves, part one

In what could prove to be a huge step forward in predicting how rogue waves are formed, and thus a tool for saving lives at sea, researchers at MIT have found a way to give 2 to 3 minutes warning of an incoming rogue wave.

I know it probably sounds stupid, but it’s hard for me to explain how excited I am about this research.  So much so that I am tempted to go speak with the researchers sometime (living in Cambridge does have its advantages).  But to understand why I am geeking out about this, it might help for me to go into some detail about what we know about rogue waves, and how they have affected ships at sea, as well as oil rigs, lighthouses, and coastlines.  This is one of those times that my love of history (especially maritime history) and my love of science come together.

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Another historic shipwreck found

A shipwreck found near the coast of Oman is believed to be the oldest yet discovered from Europe’s Golden Age of Exploration.  The wreck is believed to be the Esmerelda, a Portuguese vessel from Vasco de Gama‘s fleet that was lost near the island of al-Hallaniyah in a storm in May 1503.

Fortunately, the wreck’s relatively remote location seems to have prevented the site from being looted.

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We have definitely crossed the threshold of ridiculous

Right now it is zero degrees outside, and with the wind blowing pretty hard the wind chill is WAY below zero.  I think right now with the wind blowing at 12 miles an hour, the wind chill is about fourteen below zero.  And since the wind is gusting to even higher speeds, that wind chill is probably going to go even further into Antarctica territory.

And what is truly insane?  This is not going to be over anytime soon.

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I am sounding like a broken record by this point

but we have yet another big snow storm on the way.  Another blizzard, in fact.

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Yet another winter storm

Well.  As I said to one of our neighbors recently, “I like winter, but I am not used to getting it all at once.”  This winter may have started off pretty mild, but starting at the end of January, we have now gotten a ridiculous amount of snow.  In fact, we broke a record for most snow in a 10 day period.  And now we are in the middle of the third major winter storm in two weeks.

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Greetings from the snowy tundra of Cambridge

I woke up a couple of hours ago and checked outside.  Dave Epstein had predicted that many of us would have a foot of snow or more by this point, and I am pretty sure his predictions have been born out in many places across Massachusetts.    I cam’t tell how much snow we have gotten so far but it looks like we have gotten enough to almost reach the top of the Mini’s tires.

Looking out the front door a few minutes after 7 AM.
Looking out the front door a few minutes after 7 AM.

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